Judge Not

Luke 6:27-38 (WEB)

Judge Not is a fitting title for this section of scripture.  It contains many inter-related scriptures that form a comprehensive unit that in itself provides full explanation to every verse within this passage.  What is not to clear to many is that “judge not” is related to our (includes me) own penchant to take God’s role in condemning people to hell.  Read this passage several times to understand the full meaning of every phrase. 

The full purpose of this passage is to set people free from guilt.  We can free those who have wronged us, besides us for our own sins and follies.  And even if those who wronged us or people that we’ve wronged, reject us, which is on them; you have offered them God’s grace and peace.  But we must forgive ourselves and also accept the grace that God has already given us.  And it is said we can often be our worst critic.  We need to fix our self-image.  We’re a child of the King – who has it all and gave it all for each one of us.  This quote “Live like you’re loved” is from a Christian song done by Mark Schultz.  And this passage is how to get there.  We’ve spent a life-time living in the world with all of its hurt.  Now we have to spend time with God and supporting saints to get to Jesus’ level.

If you think this last statement of mine is too bold, I refer you to Matthew 5:44-48 below where the word “perfect” is used.  The phrase “judge not” is also further explained in Matthew 7:1-5 below.

(Luke 6:27-30)

27But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you, 28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you. 29And to him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek, offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke, forbid not [to take thy] coat also. 30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask [them] not again.

This is a huge paradigm shift from that of the Pharisaical theologians.  It’s also a huge paradigm shift for a country that believes in equal justice – which appears not to be happening in this example. 

But the following verses give an explanation as to what is God’s goal.  And that is the salvation of the very souls that we would condemn.  This is not our prerogative since we are sinners also.  We don’t ask that people are Baptized for our sake, but for God’s sake.

Do not judge those in need.  Instead look for the greater need they have.  Not handouts, but peace and control of their lives.  The need for forgiveness and a Savior.  Connections with people who care.  People who care enough to want to add value to their lives.  And a willingness to accept a new direction in life that God offers.

(Luke 6:31-34)

31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32For if ye love them who love you, what thanks have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them who do good to you, what thanks have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34And if ye lend [to them] from whom ye hope to receive, what thanks have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much in return.

Jesus who was totally sinless, gave His all for us while we were yet unworthy sinners.  Where is the justice in this?  The world’s view (and ours also) is tit-for-tat justice.  But God’s goal is the salvation of every soul.  God will sustain us through the inequalities of life so that even while we’re imperfect, we can witness to lost souls and mentor younger Christians to have conquering Grace.

Love if it’s genuine can be hard.  Usually we reflect on what we receive when we think of love.  When we help a friend we receive appreciation and a gold star for being a good guy.  We can expect reciprocal benefits.

But giving to the lost (spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc.) is of no immediate benefit to us – only sacrifice.  How many ungrateful people, even in our own church, do I experience after all my sacrifices?  Love can’t be measured by the joy I receive, but by the joy I impart to others.

(Luke 6:35-38)

35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and [to] the evil. 36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye give [to others], it shall be measured to you again.

Judging and stinginess prevent us from the task at hand.  To be Jesus to the lost and suffering of the world.  And not being able to appreciate while we judge from worldly standards we miss the fact that the wealthy and comfortable are the most lost of all.  See the following reference to Revelations 3:14-19.

Note especially that the Highest (God) is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Are we not asked to do the same?  We must be willing to go to anyone initially.  Common sense must come into play.  But before we think the impossible can never happen we need to remember the “Cross and the Switchblade” written by David Wilkerson, where the most incorrigible gang member became and nationally known evangelist.

Summary

As a whole selfless giving, loving strangers, and forgiveness, are part of a single process that Christians must commit to as we pledge to follow Jesus as our model.

The following verses reinforce what is written in Luke 6:27-38.  All of scripture serves as the best commentary on scripture.  God’s nature and mankind’s nature have not changed since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.  And God’s nature after their sin was the same as He was since eternity past.  The Old and New Testaments tell one story as thoroughly explained in the “The Story” by Randy Frazee.  This is an excellent teaching series for thirty-one weeks for any church.

Matthew 5:44-48 (WEB)

44But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father who [is] in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them who love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

Note that I said in my introduction to this section that we are to strive to get to Jesus’ level – that would be to be perfect.  We can never attain it in this life, but we are covered by Jesus’ blood and our striving will earn us the greeting “well done good and faithful servant”.  By striving I must assume that means emulating the self-sacrificing attitude of Jesus that is described in this passage.

Matthew 7:1-5 (WEB)

1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and the measure which ye give, shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thy eye; and behold, a beam [is] in thy own eye? 5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

When we presume to judge others we set ourselves up for closer examination.  We must not ever presume to offer critiques when we have greater sins of the same issue or others.  We cannot judge (sentence) anyway.  Our object should always be for confronting and helping one another.  Sort of like what comes around goes around.  When we don’t have other’s best interests at heart, people will correctly surmise as such and learn not to trust us.  And I take this passage to mean that it is God Himself that will measure out to us there same judgment we’ve given to others.

Revelation 3:14-19 (WEB)

14And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then, because thou art luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee out of my mouth: 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness may not appear; and anoint thy eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

The letter to the Laodiceans is the only one of the seven letters in Revelations that Jesus totally condemns.  There should be no doubt about the severity of complacency and self-dependency.  I’m reminded every time a missionary team returns from a poor country, how much more genuine joy and appreciation for what they do have than we do in America.  It’s our dependence on God that we need.  Anything that not dependent on God is dependency on self.  If we say without God I can still love we’re talking about a lesser level of love.  Only Jesus exhibits perfect love, and it is TOTALLY SACRIFICIAL.  Now be real – has anyone of us actually gotten to the TOTALLY level of SACRICAL LOVE?!